Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Kazakhstan?
Some areas cannot be accessed - see FCO advice before travelling.
Many areas are very isolated and have no settlements, water or phone coverage.
It's cold and snowy in winter - not the best time to travel
Seat Belt Laws
By law, everyone over the age of 12 in a moving car in Kazakhstan must wear a seat belt. Below 12 and you do not have to be strapped in!
Drinking and Driving
There is zero tolerance of drink driving in Kazakhstan as it’s a strict Muslim country. There is not even an allowance as in other Muslim countries to take account of medicines. If you are caught with alcohol in your bloodstream you can face severe penalties including jail and expulsion from the country once you’ve served your sentence. Bottom line – don’t touch a drop!
Must Have Documents
You will need to have an international driving licence as well as proof that you have the obligatory third party insurance. You will also need to carry the vehicle’s ownership documents.
The speed limits for Kazakhstan are as follows:
Residential Areas 20 km/h
In Town: 60 km/h
Open roads: 90 km/h
Motorways/Highways 110 km/h
Minimum Driving Age
You have to be at least 18 to be able to drive in Kazakhstan. If you're renting a car the minimum age is 23 and you’ll need to have at least a year’s experience of driving. Under 25 and you’re likely to have to pay a premium for your lack of experience and age.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
Safety camera warning devices are illegal in Kazakhstan but even so, we’d still recommend keeping below the speed limit for your safety and that of others as the road conditions are often poor.
On the Spot Fines
Kazakhstan can be fairly corrupt in many places and traffic police are a good example. If you are stopped, you may be asked to pay a fine there and then which is technically illegal. Ask for a ticket and instructions on paying it at a local police station if possible. Paying the ‘bribe’ effectively encourages the continuation of the practice.
Child Safety Rules
In Kazakhstan, there are no set rules for the safety of children in moving cars. They don’t even have to wear seat belts until they are 12. For the safety of your young family, give us the details of the children and we’ll ensure a suitable safety system is fitted ready for when you collect the car.
A minimum of third party insurance is compulsory in Kazakhstan and you must carry proof of it by way of a valid certificate.
Rules of the Road
Standard European driving laws apply with one or two exceptions.
• It is not permitted to have non-standard lights and vehicle horns.
• Foreign vehicles are required to have a registration plate and distinctive mark of the country where the vehicle is registered.
• Throwing litter out on the carriageway is illegal
• It is permitted to stop and park vehicles on the right of the road only. In residential areas, it is permitted to stop and park on the left side of the road if it has one-lane for each direction without tram ways in the middle and on roads with one-way traffic.
• Pedestrians have right of way at any uncontrolled pedestrian crossing.
• At stations, drivers must give way pedestrians who are going to use public transport
There are no specific laws relating to towing in Kazakhstan. As a matter of course you should ensure that the towed vehicle is securely attached and that you have good visibility.
There are no operational fixed speed cameras in Kazakhstan but there are regular mobile speed traps. Many of Kazakhstan’s roads aren’t conducive to speeding so it’s best to stick to the limit.
Using Mobile Phones when driving
It’s illegal to talk or text on a mobile phone in Kazakhstan whilst driving unless you have a hands free kit.
Kazakhstan has many regulations regarding parking and you may not park on bridges, overpasses, 50m from railway crossings nor on dual carriageways near residential areas.
There is plenty of paid parking in the cities and many parking garages have security guards – a necessary precaution. Always use these where possible.
Enforcement of parking is done by the police but on the whole it’s only obstructive parking that is dealt with.
You won’t find any concessions for disabled drivers but if you talk to the garage attendant and explain your difficulty, you’ll usually get some help.
Motor Way Signs
There are no proper motorways as such in Kazakhstan although three are in the process of being built
In Kazakhstan the people speak Kazakh but Russian is widely recognised and spoken:
• Good Morning - Dobraye utra
• Goodbye - Paka
• How are you? - Kak dila?
• Pleased to meet you - Ochen priyatna
• Yes - Da
• No - Net
• I have broken down - Ya razbil
• Where is the police station? - Gde politseyskiy uchastok ?
• I have a flat tyre - U menya yest' spustilo koleso
• I have been in an accident - Ya byl v avarii
• Where is? - Gde nakhoditsya?
• Where can I buy petrol? - Gde ya mogu kupit' benzin ?
In Kazakhstan there are few traffic lights except in the cities. There they follow the sequence laid down by the Vienna Convention so should be familiar to most. However, it’s a favourite occupation of Kazakhstanis to go through lights that are red so take care.
There are no toll roads in Kazakhstan.
The emergency number in Kazakhstan is 112 for all emergency services.
What to do in an emergency
Some parts of Kazakhstan are very remote and if travelling there take plenty of extra fuel and water. If you have a problem with your car you should phone the number given to on the rental documents or attached to the windscreen of your car. However in some places there is no mobile phone signal so a satellite phone can be a necessity. If you are driving your own vehicle, ask your emergency assistance company to recommend a partner in Kazakhstan.
In the event of an accident you must stop. If there is only slight damage, you can sort this out amongst the affected parties. You need to call the police if there is severe damage to cars or property or if there are any injuries, even if yours is the only car involved. The police will tell you whether they need to attend or not. You must exchange details with anyone else involved in the incident.
As of September 2014, the average price of 95 octane unleaded petrol in Kazakhstan is 44p whilst diesel is 38p. Prices can vary between the cities and rural areas.